Think about this; you are looking for a real estate agent to represent the sell of your home. You are the boss, the real estate agent should be your trusted employee, someone you can rely on to get the job done effectively and who meets your individual expectations. So I would recommend interviewing at least three agents before hiring one. Here a few key tips for ensuring you are not hiring a moron, and there are many of them out there.
Tip #1: Test their negotiating skills: One of the most important traits your agent should have, besides knowing what they are doing in regards to real estate contracts and processes which we will address later, is their ability to negotiate. This can easily be tested when interviewing them.
Find out what they are looking for as a total commission, then ask them to take a commission reduction sometime during the interview. This is when you will see just how good of a negotiator they are. If they cannot negotiate their own paycheck, their livelihood, you DO NOT want them representing what will likely be one of the largest financial transactions of your life. Most respectable agents will not work for less than a 6% total commission on a standard home sell (high end real estate commissions work differently depending on the value and marketing complexity). More importantly, they should be able to explain why their services are worth the commission they are asking for.
Tip #2 Ask for a commitment on how many and how often they will host open houses: While it is true that open houses only account for finding buyers 9% of the time, the other 91% are found through methods that your agent must go through anyways as part of the listing process which include other buyers realtors finding the home through the MLS (33%), and buyers finding the home online (Zillow, Realtor.com,Trulia) which is fed from the MLS (44%), and simply having a for sale sign in the yard (6%). The other few % are made up of instances where the buyer was already identified by the seller and print advertising. There is no magic number as to how often or how many they should hold, but generally the more the better because every weekend there is not an open house, is a potentially missed buyer.
These two items above are key, but there are many other qualities to look for including which brokerage they work for. Sticking with the big names like Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and Re Max will help ensure a smooth transaction because there are redundancies in their processes to ensure the agent is doing everything correctly. Many of these larger brokerages have in house escrow services which is a huge benefit. You should also get commitment on how often they will give you updates, I personally expected weekly updates before I became an agent. I hope this helps in your search for the perfect agent, happy home selling!!